Circe – Honest Book Review

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

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Review:

Why on earth did it take me this long to pick up this book?!

I LOVE Greek mythology, I love a lot of ancient mythology, but Greek mythology is one I know decent amounts about (I like to think). I didn’t know the story of Circe before I read this, and seeing how she collides with other myths and Gods and mortals was just fascinating. This is a gorgeous re-telling of a wonderful story, following a strong woman from childhood to hundreds of years into her life.

The cast of characters that parade through Circe’s life are a mixture of incredibly well-known and some lesser known characters. Each leave a lasting impression on the reader and it made me want to read more, I’m almost sad the story ending where it did as I think I could have read a book 10x the size of this one and still have been loving it by the end. Miller’s writing is enthralling and enchanting and she paints such vivid pictures.

The book never drags, each moment is important and each time jump is acknowledged. It makes for an easy story to keep up with and one that you never want to end.

Synopsis:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Ninth House – Honest Book Review

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

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Review:

Wow, okay so this book is incredible. I was hooked from the first page and begrudged putting it down.

Yes, it has a lot of dark themes. And a lot of dark moments, but seeing as this is an adult novel they totally fit and really vamped this story up to another level. Alex makes for a great protagonist, she’s been thrust into this world that she really doesn’t belong in, and is essentially making it up as she goes along, while trying to keep up appearances. She is believable and relatable, and never fails to surprise you. Darlington, who we never actually manage to meet in the present, is also a great lead, it’s through him that we learn a lot about the magic system, the societies and he is used to seamlessly inform the reader about this new world without feeling like information is being stuck down our throats. To be honest there’s a whole host of great characters.

Every time I thought I had the world figured out something new would come along, like ghosts, or demons or portal magic. It kept adding layers and layers onto itself and at no point did it ever feel overdone, or silly. It all seamlessly fits and I never questioned any of it.

There are some hard to read moments, but many, many people have spoken about trigger warnings. It’s a lot darker than Bardugo’s YA novels, but I think her writing really lends itself to the adult genre. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of this series.

Synopsis:
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Honest Book Review

Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

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Review:

Okay so the ending of this book really, really made it for me. The adventurer that hides inside was just loving every moment.

It takes about 100 pages before the story really ramps up, and before things start slotting into place. I’d guessed a couple of bits, but I think you’re meant to, but there were other bits that really blew me away and I think I’ll forever have one of the final images in the book in my mind. Really, it makes a stunning image and I want a film made out of this purely for that moment.

I really liked January, she is defiant, a bit childish and restless from being cooped up her entire life, being looked at by others for being ‘different’ and gawped at by them all. It makes you want to stand up for her and makes her adventuring all the more sweet.

The book within the book, the idea of being a word smith, the gorgeous prose, and January’s best friend who might just steal your heart a little. It’s just a book I completely adored.

Synopsis:
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood – Honest Book Review

Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

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Review: 

This is a really poignant, beautiful story. Following the viewpoints of two sisters, Liba whose chapters are down-to-earth, and somewhat more mature as the older of the sisters and Laya, whose chapters are written entirely in prose and have a whimsical fairytale feel, even if theres something sinister lurking beneath.

I hadn’t realised that this book is based on several sources, real events and fairytales alike. They have been woven together to make a whimsical, yet dark tale that keeps you guessing and will have your heart in your throat.

Liba is definitely the stronger and the leader of the two sisters. She sees the threats for what they are and becomes the rescuer in this story, and Laya fulfills the damsel in distress role, but that’s not shoved in your face. There’s romantic plot lines within this but I thought they fit perfectly and helped move along the story, or explore the YA themes that run throughout.

The shapeshifting was also a great touch, it’s prominent but no one is constantly shapeshifting, it’s more of a struggle and coming of age plot line.

I really did enjoy this, I flew through it and I think it’ll stick in my mind for quite a while.

Synopsis:

Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.

But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.

Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…

The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.

Soon – Honest Book Review

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review:

Oh wow. Just wow. I devoured this book in just a few sittings and when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about how much I wanted to read it.

The town of Nebulah only has six people left, and they have to be indoors with the doors locked and curtains closed by sunset or the mist will kill them. I love that the book keeps you guessing about the mist the entire way through, why did it appear? Will it ever disappear? What is in the mist?

The citizens of Nebulah can leave, but either they choose not to or simply cannot afford to go anywhere else, and they’re unable to sell their properties (who would buy anything in a haunted town?!). So they live in a little community, with the closest town being 3 hours away. The feeling of isolation and helplessness is overwhelming, and it just keeps you reading. As is the fear factor whenever darkness falls.

Pete makes an enthralling narrator and main character. He’s an ex-cop with issues of his own. Rescuing people from the mist causes all kinds of trouble and the ending really got me. I almost cried several times during the book, but it moved at such a pace that there is no time to cry (as it is with those who live there).

I wish it could have kept going, I almost want more answers but at the same time I satisfied with the book as a whole. I couldn’t put it down and I think I’ll think about it for a long while.

Synopsis:

On winter solstice, the birds disappeared, and the mist arrived.

The inhabitants of Nebulah quickly learn not to venture out after dark. But it is hard to stay indoors: cabin fever sets in, and the mist can be beguiling, too.

Eventually only six remain. Like the rest of the townspeople, Pete has nowhere else to go. After he rescues a stranded psychic from a terrible fate, he’s given a warning: he will be dead by solstice unless he leaves town – soon.

The Widow of Pale Harbour – Blog Tour

Today it’s my day to host the blog tour for ‘The Widow of Pale Harbour’, and it’s also the beginning of the tour!

 

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Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Review: 

This is, at heart, a love story. Sophronia is being sent messages that have a lot of things in common with Poe stories and Gideon is the towns new minister. They both have pasts they’d rather not reveal and they very quickly begin experiencing feeling towards each other, and are drawn to each other from pretty much their first meeting.

Gideon bridges the gap between Sophronia and the towns people, so the reader can see both sides of the town, the rich, judgemental groups and the lonely life of the widow in her ‘castle’. It gives a chance to see what the town thinks of Sophronia, and adds another dimension into the story, as you try and work out who is terrorising Sophronia. I have to admit I didn’t guess that at all and it did surprise me somewhat.

This is somewhat of a slower read, it’s less witches and more a love story, with some grisly goings on put into the mix. But Hester Fox has beautifully described the town and it’s very easy to picture what is happening and where. Her writing, as always, is poised and beautiful. This is a book well worth reading.

Synopsis:

Maine, 1846. Gideon Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Pale Harbor, Maine, where there is a vacancy for a new minister. Gideon and his late wife had always dreamed of building their own church, and Pale Harbor is the perfect opportunity.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople know that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a widow who lives with a spinster maid in the decaying Castle Carver on the edge of town. Sophronia is a recluse, rumored to be a witch who killed her husband.

When Gideon meets her, he knows the charming, beautiful woman cannot be guilty of anything. Together, Gideon and Sophronia realize that the mysterious events have one thing in common: they all contain an element from the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And when the events escalate to murder, Gideon and Sophronia must find the real killer, before it’s too late for them both.

Follow the rest of the tour!

The Testaments – Honest Book Review

 

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Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Review: 

Oh wow, going into The Testaments I wasn’t sure what to expect, but somehow it definitely wasn’t this. Perhaps that’s because it was an auto-buy rather than a ‘read the blurb and buy’.

This is so much more of an easier read that The Handmaid’s Tale. That doesn’t mean that the subject matter is any less harrowing, or any less frightening, but it reads much more as a novel than a piece of literary fiction. I blasted through it and found that in the current climate it was terrifying as I could almost understand how Gilead had come about, and how it was allowed to function still.

I loved seeing the world outside of Gilead, with their reactions, and their thoughts on the place. And also of those who are classed as privileged in Gilead and how they grow up, with the choices they do or don’t have and the more inner workings of the place itself.

Aunt Lydias perspective was of course, incredibly compelling and very self-aware. She was probably my favourite perspective of them all.

I just loved it. Read it. Seriously.

Synopsis:

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.